Taurus booms in tough season
INCREASED unpredictability in climate and conditions has been pinpointed as the leading reason sales of grain sorghum variety MR-Taurus are expected to surpass industry leader MR-Buster for the first time this summer.
MR-Buster, released by Pacific Seeds in 1991, has long been the biggest selling hybrid across the Australian grain sorghum growing area and remains a consistent high performer across the landscape.
MR-Taurus was released in 2014. Pacific Seeds summer grains agronomist Trevor Philp said MR-Buster was the backbone of the Australian grain sorghum industry for a quarter of a century, but increased unpredictability in rainfall and temperature had seen sales of newer hybrid MR-Taurus expected to surpass MR-Buster for the first time.
“As things warm up and dry out and the weather becomes increasingly variable, we’re seeing a bigger push now from farmers who want improved drought tolerance and high yield – like MR-Taurus,” he said.
Mr Philp said the need to make sorghum hybrids more resilient and flexible was a driving force behind increased innovation in the Pacific Seeds range.
“Growers expect reliable performance from our hybrids – but now we need reliable and adaptable,” he said.
“While farmers still value a good, solid performer, now they also want to maximise yield when the going’s good and enter a more defensive stance with a really hardy hybrid when it’s not.”
This change in grower needs has had a huge impact on innovation at Pacific Seeds.
“It takes years for us to get a new hybrid to market, so we’ve become increasingly agile in how we develop germplasm and we’re looking a lot further ahead at changing climate patterns to plan for the future,” Mr Philp said.
“Our hybrids have to be highly adaptable and able to deal with big swings and fluctuations.”
Despite competition from the new generation of hybrids, MR-Buster is expected to be a favourite for years to come.
“MR-Buster remains an incredibly popular hybrid and I expect it to remain one of our biggest sellers for a long time yet,” Mr Philp said.
HARDY: Trevor Philp with MR-Taurus.